The question “How do I benefit personally from the Qurbana?” might be answered best if we first ask ourselves another question, “What do I need help with?” This is not always the easiest question to answer, but the liturgy itself spells out the specific needs it intends to address in its prayers, and it repeats these needs several times: remission of sins, a clear conscience before God, the hope of resurrection, and new life in the Kingdom of Heaven. Each of these benefits is prayed for, not just for some abstract “humanity”, but for each and every participating worshipper. It is healing of the brokenness of our condition that the Sacrament is administered for.
“For all have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:23) Who but the most hardened hypocrite does not feel pain at his own shortcomings and sins? What conscience is so callous that it fails to recognize the anguish we inflict on one another through our indifference or forgetful neglect of moral responsibility? Can anyone say that, because he is a Christian, he no longer is subject to the failures of being human? It is to Christians that St. Paul writes, “For it is God, in Christ, who has reconciled the world with his majesty, not imputing to them their sins. And he has placed in us our word of reconciliation. Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, and, as it were, God beseeches you through us. In behalf of Christ, then, we beseech you, be reconciled to God, for he made him, who knew no sin, to be sin for you, that we may be made in him the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5:19-20) The Christian man or woman, having been reconciled to God through Christ, must continue to strive to make that promised state a reality in his or her personal life in this world. He or she must face up to the failures that beset the course of life, and the brokenness which recurs with every sin of omission or commission along the way, and “be reconciled to God.”
God gave to the Apostles, and through them to the Church, the ministry of reconciliation. This ministry is exercised regularly, whenever the Church meets together at the place of reconciliation, before the Altar of God. There it prays for forgiveness and cleansing. There it offers the counsels of love and forbearance. There it reaches out to offer the kiss of peace, succors the ailing, and draws to itself the alienated and confused. There it calls to renewal and reconciliation all who feel broken by sin. And there it offers the hope of resurrection and new life in God and in his Kingdom. The benefit personally is great, for there we have the opportunity to participate in all these things ourselves, to be a part of that healing and reconciliation. There we can fulfill this ministry of service to which we are all called as members of Christ’s body.
At the center of this ministry of word and deed is the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ himself. Jesus said, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread he shall live for ever. And the bread which I will give is my body, which I give for the life of the world.” (Jn. 6:51) What we come to Qurbana to receive and give is possible only in Christ and through his Self-offering. Forgiveness, healing, hope, reconciliation–all these Christ conveys according to his promise to each and every believer who in true faith partakes of his gift of himself. This gift of himself is the first and greatest benefit of faithful attendance at Qurbana.